Jared Leto To Produce, Star In H.wood Media Film Inspired By Professor-Turned-Cat Burglar Suspect Dr. Lawrence Gray

EXCLUSIVE: Academy Award winner Jared Leto is set to produce and star in a new film from h.wood Media, the multi-strategy vertical of L.A.-based hospitality company The h.wood Group, that draws inspiration from the story of retired professor-turned-cat burglar suspect Dr. Lawrence Gray.

Currently untitled, the film written by Andy Bellin (Lovelace) adapts the article “The Talented Dr. Gray” by Steve Kroft and Howard L. Rosenberg, which was first published on Graydon Carter’s Airmail in 2022.

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Gray, a retired political science professor from John Cabot University, is charged with orchestrating a sophisticated theft operation involving high-value jewels and art pieces. Known for his impeccable manners and elite social connections, Gray allegedly stole over $1 million worth of valuables from homes in five states. His victims included acquaintances he met through social events, such as weddings and fundraisers, and notably, his longtime lover, Jacqueline Quillen, a prominent figure in Washington D.C. society.

Gray’s criminal activities reportedly began in 2004 when he started a relationship with Quillen, the granddaughter of famed investment banker and physicist Alfred Lee Loomis. Despite their close relationship and shared social life, Gray allegedly stole from Quillen and her affluent friends over the course of a decade. His legal troubles escalated after Quillen’s son, Parker, sued Gray in 2020, accusing him of stealing numerous valuables. Quillen passed away later that year, and the lawsuit was settled confidentially, with Gray making a payment to her estate. Maintaining his innocence, Gray claims that he was persecuted by Quillen’s family due to their disapproval of his relationship with her.

The team behind the h.wood film plans to relocate the story to London, where Leto’s Dr. Gray woos his way into the homes of English bluebloods and international ambassadors, and sets his sights on relics of the Great British Empire. Leto (WeCrashed, Tron: Ares) will produce alongside Emma Ludbrook (WeCrashed, Tron: Ares), through their production company Paradox, in partnership with Scoop Wasserstein’s Scoop Productions (The Outfit, The Watcher).

Said Bellin, “The moment I read the article, I knew this would make an incredible movie. The real hook here is the psychology of Dr. Gray and the fantastic twists that come along with it. This story explores the perceived perfect lives of privilege and glamour, which is actually a world of cunning, subterfuge and deception. We’re so lucky that Jared has the same drive for such complex characters; and that h.wood Media sees what we see in this project.”

Best known for transformative turns in such acclaimed features as Dallas Buyers Club — for which he won a Supporting Actor Oscar — Requiem for a Dream and Blade Runner 2049, Leto most recently starred as WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann in Apple TV+’s miniseries WeCrashed. Up next, he’ll be seen starring opposite Gillian Anderson, Jeff Bridges, Evan Peters and more in Tron: Ares, the third film in the Tron sci-fi franchise from Disney.

Bellin is best known for scripting Radius/Alchemy’s Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard, as well as David Schwimmer’s Trust, starring Clive Owen and Catherine Keener. The author of independent bookstore bestseller Poker Nation (Harper Collins), he’s also a former editor of the Paris Review. Other active projects include The Baccarat Machine at SK Global, starring Awkwafina, and Think Aaron at HBO Films.

Founded by The h.wood Group Co-Founders John Terzian and Brian Toll, h.wood Media began as a pandemic passion project, in partnership with Magic Johnson on the Emmy-nominated docuseries They Call Me Magic, before solidifying into a full-scale multimedia production arm. Led by Jeremy Allen, a Partner at New Slate Ventures, the company’s other current projects include Sony’s Hell Naw!, written by the Lucas Brothers and starring Kid Cudi, and the Jean-Michel Basquiat documentary King Pleasure, co-produced by Boardwalk Pictures and Quinn Wilson. h.wood Media is also developing projects with Machine Gun Kelly and Post Malone, and has raised a fund to deploy across development, co-financing and alternative investments.

Leto is repped by WME; Bellin by WME and The Gotham Group.

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